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Volume 1314
A Graphic Interpretation of
Edgar Rice Burroughs'
A Princess of Mars
James Killian Spratt
Love-Making On Mars
Following the battle with the airships, 
the community remained within the city 
for several days,
abandoning the return home to Thark 
until they were reasonably certain
that the ships would not return; 
they had no desire 
to be caught in the open plains 
with a cavalcade of 
chariots and children. 

During our period of inactivity, 
Tars Tarkas instructed me
in the customs and arts of war, 
including riding and 
telepathically guiding
the great thoats,
two of which had fallen to me 
from my late antagonists.

These creatures are 
as dangerous and vicious 
as their masters, 
yet when properly subdued 
are sufficiently tractable to ride. 
A terrific blow between the ears 
with a pistol butt
showed the brute who was master, 
and was repeated
if he showed fight,
or until he unseated his rider,
who had then better 
be quick with his pistol.

First I taught my new mounts
that they could not unseat me, 
and then I decided to use kindness.
Ever a good hand with animals, 
by degrees I won their confidence. . . 


Within the course of a few days, 
my thoats were 
the wonder of the community. . .


They would follow me like dogs, 
rubbing me 
with awkward affection. . .


-- and they responded to my every command
with an alacrity and docility that caused 
the Martian warriors to credit me with 
some Earthly power unknown on Mars. 


"How have you bewitched them?" 
asked Tars Tarkas 
one afternoon,
having seen me run my arm 
far between the great jaws 
to remove a stone 
wedged between the teeth 
of one of my thoats."

"By kindness," I said.

 I explained to him
in full the benefits of kindness 
and having one's mount trust 
and respect its rider.
He knew well how many angry, 
ill-tempered mounts 
could turn victory 
into defeat should they,
at a critical moment, 
elect to unseat and rend their riders.
He said, "Show me. . .."
Later I explained my training techniques 
to Lorquas Ptomel and a new era began. . .

The effect on the precision
and celerity of movement 
of military movements 
was profound, 
and so remarkable
that Lorquas Ptomel 
presented me 
with a massive anklet of gold 
from his own leg,
in appreciation of 
my service to the horde..


I had not seen much of 
Dejah Thoris and Sola 
during my busy days, 
but on the eve of our departure 
I met them along the great avenue 
leading to the plaza from the east. 
The few times I'd gone to visit 
they had been absent 
from their quarters. . . . 
The look of pitiful hopelessness
left Dejah Thoris'
sweet countenance. 

For some reason I desired 
to be alone with Dejah Thoris 
so I sent Sola off 
on some trivial errand.
Dejah Thoris, I was sure, 
felt it too, 
and laid her little hand 
on my shoulder 
in true Martian salute, 
with a sweet smile 
on her lovely face. 


"Sarkoja told Sola that 
you were now a true Thark," 
she said, 
"and now I'll see no more of you
than any other warrior."
I replied,
"Sarkoja is a liar 
of the first magnitude."


Dejah Thoris laughed, 
"I knew you would 
not cease to be my friend! 
I think they have been 
trying to keep us apart."


She continued,
"They have had me down 
working in the pits, 
making their terrible 
explosive glass bullets. 
When sunlight exposes 
the tip full of radium,
it explodes!"

"They should not expose you 
to dangerous work!" 
I said angrily. 
"Are they cruel to you?"
"Only in little ways," 
she replied. 
"They are jealous of me, 
my Chieftain; 
they who know not their own mothers 
would hurt my pride."
"I pity them." I stated. 
"They had better not even 
frown on you, my Princess!" 
She gasped, stared at me 
for a moment, 
big-eyed and breathless
-- then giggled at me, 
smiling and dimpled.

The chill of the night was upon us, 
and as I laid my silks 
across her shoulders I felt 
a thrill in every fiber of my being. 
As my arm laid across her shoulders
longer than needed, 
she did not draw away,
nor did she speak. 
It seemed that she leaned 
toward me, slightly, 
but I was not sure.

I knew then that I loved her, 
and had since the first moment 
our eyes had met. 
When I asked her what I had said
that was wrong, 
she refused to explain, 
laughing and calling me 
"Great Warrior, 
yet stumbling little child,"
and saying only that she, 
daughter of Mors Kajak,
had listened and -- smiled.
Had I but known that 
"My Chieftain" and "My Princess" 
are expressions of 
the greatest endearment,
my befuddlement should
have eased considerably.

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 15a | 16 | 16a | 17 | 17a | 18 | 19 | 19a | 19b | 20 | 20a | 20b |
| 21 | 21a | 21b |

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